As most drummers know, all kits are not the same. They not only vary depending on the style of music played, but also on where they will be played—large stage, intimate venue, or studio. Here’s an overview of some typical drum kit setups. Of course there are many variations, especially if you play a blend of genres. As drummers become more experienced, they tend to further customize their setup according to personal preferences.
A typical rock kit setup is one 12-inch or 13-inch rack tom mounted on the bass drum or a snare stand, a 22-inch or larger bass drum, a 16-inch or larger floor tom, and a deep depth (6.5-inch or deeper) 14-inch diameter snare drum. Appropriate shell choices include oak, birch, or maple. Larger cymbals are usually used with a rock kit to provide a bigger sound and longer sustain for the louder style of rock music.
A typical metal kit may consist of two 22-inch or larger diameter bass drums, two or more large diameter rack toms mounted on or between the two bass drums with stands or mounts, a deep depth (6.5-inch or deeper) 14-inch diameter snare drum, and two or more larger diameter floor toms usually in 16-inch and 18-inch diameter. Suitable shell choices are oak, birch, or maple. Larger cymbals are usually used as they have a bigger sound and longer sustain for louder music.
A typical jazz kit (or “bop”) setup will consist of a smaller diameter 18-inch or 20-inch bass drum, one smaller diameter 10-inch or 12-inch rack tom mounted on the bass drum or snare stand, one smaller diameter 14-inch floor tom, and a 5.5-inch depth snare drum. Compatible shell choices for this are maple or mahogany. Larger, thinner cymbals are usually used in this setup.
A typical studio kit will consist of a 20-inch or 22-inch diameter bass drum, two or more rack toms mounted on the bass drum in 10-inch and 12-inch diameters, two floor toms in 14-inch and 16-inch diameters, and a 5.5 or deeper snare drum. The shell choice is frequently birch due its shorter sustain and bright tone. Smaller cymbals and drum sizes are typical because they work better in a studio environment where the sounds are easier to control.